Authentic Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

2014-06-05

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  • Yield : 3 Tbsp
  • Servings : 8-10
  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 0m
  • Ready In : 10m

If you normally make ground beef tacos and season it with one of those “taco seasoning mix” packets, you’re going to love this recipe. If you like it extra hot, you can customize and kick it up a few notches; if you want to keep it mild for the kids in the family (or yourself), you can keep it cool so everyone enjoys your delicious tacos.

Making your own taco seasoning mix instead of the packets means you can control the sodium and even design your own unique flavors with a tiny bit of experimenting (and I do encourage you to experiment with this). It also means you’re going to save yourself a good sum of money. The amount of seasoning in a typical packet is about 42g (or 6 Tablespoons) and it costs between $1.25 and $2.00 per packet.

Why Make Your Own Taco Seasoning Mix?

Pack of McCormick Original Taco Seasoning MixMy quest for a homemade taco seasoning mix came along when I started eating healthy and wanted to watch the sodium levels as well as keeping out any extra ingredients. With the Paleo Diet, I’ve started to eat “Lettuce Wrap Tacos” and I’ve fallen in love with them.

You make Lettuce Wrap Tacos the same way you do a regular taco, but to make it Paleo Diet friendly, you replace the taco shell with the center leaves in Romaine Lettuce (also called “hearts of romaine”). You’ll want to skip the cheese and sour cream to stay in line with the Paleo plan.

Whether you’re making Paleo taco lettuce wraps, traditional tacos, burritos, enchiladas or even a taco salad, this is the perfect seasoning blend for the beef or even on shredded, diced or ground turkey or chicken. We even use this seasoning blend when making Mexican Chicken Soup.

I’m going to give you the recipe to make about 2 pounds of ground beef. If you’d like, double or triple the recipe, that way, you can make it up in one go and store it in your cupboard, ready to go for the next Taco Tuesday in your house.

What Are the Ingredients in the Taco Seasoning Mix Packet?

When I looked at the back of a packet of taco seasoning, I saw a very basic set of ingredients:

Taco Seasoning Packet Ingredients

  • Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Potato Starch (to thicken)
  • Onion
  • Whey – Milk
  • Sea Salt
  • Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Citric Acid

We happened to have the 30% reduced sodium packet which really is a lot better for you, but still not as good or delicious as your own homemade variety.  No Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), maltodextrin or silicon dioxide, which most other packets contain.

Caution if You’re Lactose Intolerant

The first thing I noticed, being lactose intolerant, was the presence of milk in the powder. This explains why I was getting an upset stomach with my Lettuce Wrap Tacos even though I wasn’t having cheese or sour cream. I also noticed there’s sugar in the packet and I was trying to cut that out of my diet.

Based on what I know about Mexican recipes, the packet ingredients could use a slight boost in flavor simply by adding in a bit of oregano. This is a very common ingredient in a lot of Mexican recipes, so I know it would work well for tacos.

I decided to add in a bit of ground coriander. In case you don’t know, coriander is the seed from the cilantro plant. Keep in mind, cilantro is a very popular flavor in Mexican dishes, but it’s also something some people detest, so you may want to leave it out if you have one of those cilantro-haters in your house.

All of the components of taco seasoning individually on a boardAnother change I suggest you consider is the use of fresh crushed garlic and minced onions when you make your tacos. This is always going to give you a better flavor than dehydrated onion or garlic powder. Of course, if you like the convenience, add it in to the mix and you’ll still have a wonderful seasoning.

Remember, this is a starting point for your own recipe. Take out a notepad and write down exactly how much of each item you use. Then the next time you make it, take out that same set of notes and see what you want to change. The key is to make sure you write everything down when you make the changes, otherwise you won’t remember what gave it the flavors you like the most. Also, make sure you make some notes under your recipe so you can indicate any items you thought were too strong or weak.

Ok, so let’s start with this basic recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp ground Cumin
  • ½ tsp ground Coriander
  • ½ tsp Oregano
  • ¼ - ¾ tsp Cayenne Pepper (adjust for heat)
  • ½ tsp Garlic powder (or fresh when you make it)
  • ¼ tsp Onion powder (or fresh when you make it)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt (optional if you’re watching sodium levels)
  • 1 tsp ground Black Pepper

Method

Step 1

Combine all of the ingredients until well blended

Step 2

Store in an airtight container

Step 3

To make Taco Filling: Brown 1 lb of ground beef and drain the excess fat.

Step 4

Add 2 Tbsp taco seasoning and 1/2 cup of water. Mix and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced to a light coating on the meat.

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